22 May, 2012

Where ya from???

Every time we meet a new person in town as soon as we have made introductions,"Hello my name is...this is my wife..."  The absolute first question is always where are you from?  I have never really understood the importance of this question...maybe it is just a curiosity as the Expats in San Miguel are from far and wide, and the general location changes with the seasons.  I never know how to answer the question really.  I know it should not be that difficult but I am used to answering a question as a couple and to me, "Where are you from?" should be a one word answer...so it's complicated!

I (Jessi) am a California girl through and through.  I answered. "where are you from?" at a social gathering the other day as "California" but that was not good enough for this particular lady.  She wanted to know my family heritage...I told her, "California!"  We are all apart of what I think makes California great, we are farmers and ranchers, architect's and geologists.  We are not afraid to get our hands dirty and nothing excites us more than the smell of the warm skin of a fresh picked peach in the middle of the summer.  Even my mom, who claims to be the "hoity-toity" one of the family taught me to garden and preserve.  I suppose that it is this love of the land that draws me to San Miguel.  The farm land surrounding this beautiful little town beckons to me.  The soil is some of the blackest, richest soil that I have ever seen.  And the glorious produce that you can find so easily at the Tiangis makes me sick with gluttony.  I want to buy 5 kilos of everything and keep it in pretty little glass jars and display it on the shelves like works of art.  

Now Boris is the one that complicates my one word answer to "where are you from?"  He was born and raised in Mexico City, DF, but he spent his summers and every other chance he had in his moms home town of Santo Domingo Tonala, Oaxaca (don't bother looking it up on the map, even Google can't find it).  In Tonala Boris worked with his grandfather on his ranch where he learned to farm, to raise livestock and as his grandfather was also the local butcher he also learned all he would ever need to know about butchering from start to finish.  Even today he remembers many of the things that his grandfather taught him.  He is one of the few Chefs that is not afraid to butcher his own meat, something that very few Chefs are able to do!  Boris considers himself more Oaxacan than Chilango, and I would agree he is far more country than city slicker. The small town feel of San Miguel is what really makes him feel at home.  The people that smile and wave, even if they do not know you.  The central plaza closed in the afternoons for the kids to play after school while the moms mingle and gossip in the warm sun, their voices lost in the breeze. The secure feeling you get, the serenity... all this makes San Miguel a magical place to live.
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